Apple Orchards in the Great Lakes

 

Fall in the Great Lakes means cool days, cozy sweaters, and trips to the apple orchard! We’re fortunate that our region is perfect for the growth of apples and the fruits of those… well, fruit. Apple pie, cider, and of course, apple picking are all reasons why the passing of summer isn’t the worst thing in the world for those in the Great Lakes. In this month’s Community we’re going to talk about Michigan’s largest crop and where you can get yours!

 Apple Orchard

You may be surprised to know that the apple isn’t actually native to North America. Settlers brought apple seeds over in the 17th century by colonists from Europe. These apple seeds made their way through the country via Native Americans and colonists moving away from the New England region. In the Midwest we got a large number of our orchards from a man named John Chapman, although you may know him as Johnny Appleseed. Contrary to the picture that the tall tale paints of him, he wasn’t actually a poor, shoeless, transient with a pot on his head but was actually very wealthy. At the time, land could be claimed if you created a permanent homestead, and one of the ways to do that was to plant 50 trees to start an orchard. Chapman planted trees, and then later would sell “his” land to people.

 

Johnny Appleseed

In Michigan we’ve got more than 16 varieties of apples from the sweet Gala to the tart Northern Spy. These come from over 11 million trees on 800 farms covering more than 35,000 acres. The annual yield from these arms is over 22 million bushels which is about 924,000,000 pounds of apples. That’s 462,000 TONS of apples every year!

Apple Dump Truck 

How do we get our hands on all of these delicious fruits?! While you can get apples year round at the grocery store, getting to pick your own right off the tree insures freshness and is a lot more fun. Here are some of our favorite orchards we like to frequent during the fall!

 

Blake’s Orchard

Blake's Orchard 

We’ll lead off with possibly the best-known orchard in the state: Blake’s. Famous for their ever-growing Hard Cider empire, they also have three separate locations offering U-pick apples and were one of the first in the state to do so. You can pick a variety of apples including honeycrisp, gala, and golden delicious. They’re accommodating the new world we live in by allowing guests to drive into the orchards and are pricing produce based on bag fullness as opposed to weighing them to minimize contact. A great adjustment to ensure that the fall tradition of apple picking in Michigan continues.

 

Blake's Orchard & Cider Mill                                     

ADDRESS:

17985 Armada Center Road,
Armada, MI 48005

 

Blake's Big Apple

ADDRESS:

71485 North Avenue,
Armada, MI 48005

 

 

Spicer Orchards

 Spicer Orchard

Spicer Orchards in Fenton offers an orchard to pick your apples, a corn maze AND a winery! Truly something for everyone. Hop on the wagon ride for a tour of the grounds and make your apple picks at your leisure. They have Cortlands, Jonathans and Red Delicious among many others! 

Spicer Orchards

10411 Clyde Rd.
Fenton, MI 48430

  

Overhiser Orchards

 Overhiser Orchards

Overhiser Orchards are your go-to U-pick in South West Michigan. Overhiser has been in business for more than 100 years, so rest assured: they know what they’re doing. With 22 varieties of apple you’re not left wanting for choice. They’ve even got pumpkins for you to complete your fall flavor.

 

Overhiser Orchards

6405 109th Ave.

South Haven, MI 49090

 

Buchan’s Blueberry Hill

 Buchan's

Are you in Northern Michigan? Don’t worry! Buchan’s Blueberry Hill allows berry picking in the summer months and switches to apples for the fall season.  It’s located on the beautiful Mission Peninsula which is worth the trip in itself.

 

Buchan’s Blueberry Hill

1472 Nelson Rd

Traverse City, MI 49686

 

What are some of your go-to orchards? Share them in the comments!


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